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The Pitfalls of a Fixed Mindset

Introduction:

Your mindset plays a significant role in shaping your experiences and determining your outcomes. Based upon how you interpret and respond to your circumstances, the outcomes you get can be radically varied.

Consider two people: Person A is generally optimistic, has a reasonable process for evaluating risk and sees themselves as skilled and resilient.  Person B is generally pessimistic, overestimates risk and feels unskilled and fragile.  Consider how both of these people would respond differently to a situation with uncertainty that challenges them. Their mindset will determine their response and their outcomes.

Your mindset is comprised of your unconscious and habitual ways of interpreting and responding to the world around you.  It is based upon your internal schema – being comprised of your knowledge, beliefs, skills and processes relating to the circumstance that you face.

Mind set or Mind stuck?

A mindset can either be fixed or growth oriented.

  • A growth mindset embraces challenges, sees failures as opportunities for growth, and believes in the power of effort and learning.
  • A fixed mindset operates on the belief that talents and abilities are fixed traits, leading to a fear of failure and a resistance to change.

In the context of business and life, a fixed mindset can have profound implications that hinder personal and professional development. If you rely on such a ‘fixed’ schema for dealing with the world, then as you face novel situations, you will inevitably use low quality approaches and get less valuable outcomes.

A fixed mindset shows up as:

Fear of Failure and Risk Aversion:

A fixed mindset tends to view failure as a reflection of one’s abilities rather than an opportunity for growth. This fear of failure often leads individuals to avoid taking risks, preventing them from exploring new ventures, pursuing innovative ideas, or seizing potential opportunities. In business, this can limit growth and stifle creativity, making it difficult to adapt to an ever-changing market landscape.

Stagnation and Limited Potential:

Those with a fixed mindset often believe that their talents and abilities are fixed traits that cannot be significantly developed or improved. As a result, they may not invest the necessary time and effort to enhance their skills or acquire new knowledge. This stagnant approach hinders personal and professional growth, preventing individuals from reaching their full potential and achieving success.

Resistance to Change and Innovation:

A fixed mindset tends to resist change and innovation due to the fear of the unknown and the discomfort associated with stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. In today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, adaptability and openness to change are crucial. Embracing a growth mindset allows individuals to be more flexible, embrace new ideas, and proactively seek opportunities for improvement.

Limited Resilience and Coping Mechanisms:

When faced with setbacks or obstacles, individuals with a fixed mindset may become discouraged and give up easily. Their belief in fixed abilities makes it challenging to bounce back from failures and find alternative solutions. In contrast, a growth mindset fosters resilience and the ability to persevere in the face of adversity, enabling individuals to learn from setbacks and develop effective coping mechanisms.

Hindered Collaboration and Team Dynamics:

In business, collaboration and teamwork are essential for success. A fixed mindset can hinder effective collaboration as it often prioritises personal achievements over collective goals. Individuals with a fixed mindset may resist feedback, become defensive when challenged, and struggle to work in teams. In contrast, a growth mindset fosters a culture of collaboration, where learning from others and embracing diverse perspectives is encouraged.

Freeing your mind-set to allow peak performance:

By understanding how and where you react (self-awareness), you can begin a process of identifying how best to utilise your internal schema.  Under stress, it is easy to fall back into a ‘safety first’ mindset (driven by desire to execute and searching for perfection).  If we can notice our stressed state, we can often take a breath and choose a better response than the habitually or unconsciously driven response.

Challenge to our mindset is an opportunity to update our schema – learning more, updating beliefs, acquiring skills or modifying processes through experimentation and learning.

As your coach, I would help guide you through such a process so that where you are stuck, we can expand your options and help you learn and revise your schema so that your new habitual response is more valuable.  Imagine if Person B (pessimistic, overestimating risk and feeling unskilled and fragile) could learn how to operate like person A (generally optimistic, has a reasonable process for evaluating risk and sees themselves as skilled and resilient).  Imagine the impact this can have on their personal and professional life?

If you want to know how it could work for you, then get in touch now.  Whether you are an individual seeking personal growth or an organization striving for excellence, together we can unleash your potential and create meaningful change.

 

(image credit: 20th Century Fox)

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